Showing posts with label Joanna Barker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joanna Barker. Show all posts

Friday, December 25, 2020

Review: Timeless Regency Collection: A Christmas Promise by Joanna Barker, Annette Lyon, Jennifer Moore



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

THE TWO BELLS OF CHRISTMAS by Joanna Barker
Roland Hastings made a promise to his father: to marry and carry on the family line. But after a year of searching, he has given up hope of finding the right woman. Anticipating a quiet Christmas with his mother, Roland is frustrated to learn she has organized an entire house party to help him find a bride. Cassandra Bell arrives for the house party with her twin sister Vivian, who has set her heart on winning a proposal from the eligible Mr. Hastings. But when Vivian grows ill, she begs Cassie to switch places with her and keep the other conniving ladies away from Mr. Hastings. Cassie reluctantly takes on the role of her poised and proper twin, but things become much more complicated when Roland begins to take an interest in the spunky and unconventional Cassie...

PROMISE ME AGAIN by Annette Lyon
Secret wedding plans. A powerful brother who will go to any lengths to stop them. Can love truly conquer all? Miriam and Jacob have loved each other for as long as they can remember. They want to wed, but Jacob's older brother Norman forbids it. Deciding to do so secretly without his blessing, Miriam and Jacob make plans to marry on Christmas Eve at a church several hours’ journey away. Despite their efforts, Norman’s long reach finds them. Miriam’s love is tested to the very limit when she is forced into a devil’s bargain with him. She agrees only to spare Jacob pain, but can their hearts find their way back to each other no matter what—or who—stands in their way?

A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY by Jennifer Moore
The war is over, but Lucy Breckenridge’s plans for a perfect Christmas are ruined when Captain James Stewart brings news that her father will not return in time for the holiday. Determined to not miss yet another Christmas with her father, Lucy starts on a journey for London with her trusty maid and manservant. Learning they have gone, James follows, hoping to stop her before she discovers the true reason for Colonel Breckenridge’s absence. Along the way, the two join in local holiday celebrations and learn that families have flaws, friendship requires trust, and Christmas traditions can be created in the most unexpected places.

My Review

Another wonderfully entertaining collection from Timeless Regency! I love the variety of stories we get that relate to the title theme, and these anthologies with three novellas also give us longer and more complete stories than we find in the collections with six stories. The first story, The Two Bells of Christmas, was fun and entertaining as Cassie tried her best to be a posed substitute for her sister, but her personality can't help but shine through. I enjoyed trying to figure out when Roland becomes aware of their ruse, and convinces Cassie that she is just as lovable and worthy as Vivian. The second story was my least favorite of the collection because I missed seeing the main characters fall in love, and the villain made the plot rather two-dimensional. The third story was my favorite, and one I plan to re-read in the future. Even though Lucy is headstrong and naive, she is full of determination to reunite with her father and celebrate Christmas with him for once. I could sense that something was not right when James was so hesitant to lead her to her father, but along their journey Lucy's compassionate and selflessness personality reaches out to all in their little group and she makes it a special holiday season for them all. I loved how she was able to thaw James's heart and the joy they found together. Recommended for fans of sweet Regency romance!

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.



Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Secrets & Suitors by Joanna Barker



https://amzn.to/2p4KsB6

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Reluctantly returning to London for yet another Season, shy Nora Hamilton has nearly given up hope that she will ever find the love match she longs for. After all, the one man she does harbor feelings for—her closest friend, James—has made it perfectly clear he views her as just that: a friend. With James traveling half a world away and Nora's father pressuring her to marry for wealth and status, Nora is forced to set aside her desire for love and accept the future she has always dreaded.
 

Until James returns unexpectedly and Nora's feelings once again rush unbearably close to the surface. Determined to save what is left of their friendship, Nora ignores her own heart and allows herself to be swept up in the London Season, soon finding herself the object of two very different gentlemen's affections. Though she should be thrilled, both men come with a glaring fault: neither is the one man who holds her heart.

But there is much more at stake than heartbreak. When long-kept secrets are laid bare, Nora must face the fears that have plagued her all her life and decide what true love is worth.


My Review

Poor Nora! I really struggled with the first part of the book because Nora feels hopeless and resigned, and the author did a great job of connecting the reader to her emotions- so I was feeling sad and frustrated as I read. Things picked up when the setting moves to London and Nora begins to develop hope for another plan for her future. I found the evolving dynamics of her family interesting and I appreciated that we got to see the more complex layers of her parents and especially her father, who is not the villain he seems to be in the beginning. Nora has a strong bond with her sister and brother, and it added a nice element to the story. Nora also evolves and grows through her experiences and she is a much stronger person for it by the end, where she refuses to let the secrets stay hidden so she can grasp the future she wants with both hands- not just who she marries, but a warm and loving family.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

About the Author

Joanna Barker was born and raised in northern California. She discovered her love for historical fiction after visiting England as an eleven-year-old, and subsequently read every Jane Austen book she could get her hands on. After graduating Brigham Young University with a degree in English, she worked as an acquisitions editor before devoting herself full-time to writing. She enjoys music, chocolate, and reading everything from romance to science fiction. She lives in Utah and is just a little crazy about her husband and two wild-but-loveable boys.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Review: All Hearts Come Home for Christmas by Sarah M. Eden, Anita Stansfield, Esther Hatch, Joanna Barker



https://amzn.to/2MJx8gn

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Christmas at Falstone Castle · Sarah M. Eden
The Dowager Duchess of Kielder eagerly anticipates spending Christmas with her son and his family. Though their relationship has been strained, the duchess is determined to heal the chasm. Even with the help of the widowed local vicar, her plan will take a Christmas miracle. But during this magical season, anything is possible . . . even two second chances for love.

The Heart of Christmas · Anita Stansfield
When a chance meeting brings together a gentle seamstress and a widowed banker, each lonely soul finds a first hint of hope. As their lives become entwined, it will take Christmas spirit to guide a broken family to love and healing.

’Tis the Season to Be Daring · Esther Hatch
Elizabeth Davenport has had quite enough of the London Season. Determined to evade a parade of unsuitable suitors, she seeks help from the one gentleman who has no regard for Society’s rules. All of Society knows Lord Hawthorne is not interested in marriage, yet he cannot deny Miss Davenport’s unique charm. And as the Christmas season works its magic, their charade begins to feel less like playacting and more like love.

The Christmas Dress · Joanna Barker
Seamstress Nell Addington is thrilled when her childhood friend Jacob Hammond commissions a dress for his sister. But when Nell realizes her feelings for Jacob run far deeper than friendship, an unexpected snowstorm—and some holiday cheer—may convince them both that love is worth fighting for.


My Review

I loved each of these stories! Sarah Eden's made me want to go back and read Seeking Persephone again (which I just did) and in this novella it was wonderful to see even more healing take place between Adam and his mother, as well as her own second chance at love.

The Heart of Christmas was heartwarming and lovely as Addie brings light into a family who needs a few nudges out of their grief and back together.

'Tis the Season to Be Daring was my favorite of the collection for its romance! Lord Hawthorne and Miss Davenport both had fun personalities and brought the laughter out in each other. A wonderful falling-in-love story as pretend love turns into the real thing.

I also enjoyed the blossoming romance in The Christmas Dress. The difference in social status between Nell and Jacob provide the conflict as they are reunited and rekindle their friendship. His sister helps move things along with a little matchmaking and gentle encouragement and I enjoyed their sibling relationship as well.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Miss Adeline's Match by Joanna Barker



https://amzn.to/2urSljN

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/miss-adelines-match?variant_id=174104-paperbackhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Miss Adeline Hayes is the perfect lady's companion: pleasant, conversational, and unceasingly proper. But when her closest friend, Charity Edgeworth, breaks off her arranged marriage without explanation, even Adeline's superior skills are put to the test. Charity's father banishes the two young women to the country, sending Adeline with a charge to find Charity a husband or suffer dire consequences.

As Adeline takes on the role of reluctant matchmaker, she discovers more than one obstacle in her path. Not only does Charity prefer escaping in books to socializing, but Adeline soon finds her own attentions distracted by the standoffish—and irritatingly handsome—Mr. Evan Whitfield. Amidst an eventful foxhunt and the unexpected arrival of Charity's former betrothed, Adeline simply doesn't have time for a battle of wits with Evan. But the two are continually drawn together until Adeline begins to question her tightly guarded convictions about love and marriage.

However, when secrets are revealed and truths made known, Adeline must face her most fearsome obstacle yet: herself.


My Review

Such a moody vibe in this Regency romance, and I think much of it has to do with the winter setting! I felt transported and could practically feel the chill of the snow and wind. Adeline is an interesting character, unlike any lady's companion I've read in other stories- she is better at navigating Society than her charge/friend, Charity, and has a confidence that doesn't reflect her lower standing. I appreciated her witty retorts to the gossipy ladies who made Charity uncomfortable with their remarks. She also knew when it was prudent to rein herself or Charity in. She has a flaw of becoming manipulative, justifying that she's doing it because she sincerely wants what's best for Charity... but there are some personal motivations influencing her as well and her social juggling is bound to come crashing down. She and Evan (love that name) don't have the best first impression of one another, which makes it all the better as they get to know and fall in love with each other. I truly enjoyed seeing Evan's personality open up from a dour Mr. Darcy to an enchanted Mr. Knightley. There is plenty of emotion and angst as heartbreak, loyalty, secrets, and rejection play a role in each character coming to a place of understanding and forgiveness. Loved it and looking forward to more from this author!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review & Giveaway: The Truth About Miss Ashbourne by Joanna Barker



Heidi Reads... The Truth About Miss Ashbourne by Joanna Barker

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/truth-about-miss-ashbourne?variant_id=169348-paperbackhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Governess Juliana Ashbourne has dreams reaching far beyond the confines of her current position, hoping to someday establish her own school for girls. When she inherits a fortune from her late grandfather, she is shocked to learn that “someday” may soon be within reach. However, there is one condition: she must spend a month at the estate of Havenfield—with the very family who disowned her mother. Intent on securing the money she needs to start her school, Juliana accepts the invitation, vowing to guard her heart against those who shunned her all her life. But Havenfield is far from what she expects. She discovers a grandmother seeking forgiveness, a cold and disapproving aunt, and a painfully shy cousin. And then there is Mr. William Rowley. Though the heir to the estate is a merciless tease, Juliana finds in him a friend and confidant—and perhaps something more. As she struggles to make sense of her new place in the world, her stubborn independence clashes with a yearning to belong and the even more confusing desires of her heart.

My Review

Everything I love about Regency and romance came together beautifully in this debut novel. Juliana is strong but also vulnerable, and tries to protect herself from potential hurts by holding herself back. William is so fun and charming, I loved their banter and the friendship and romance that eventually develop. There are family dynamics that Juliana needs to learn to navigate, and she learns valuable lessons from them and her new circumstances. I loved the subtle humor that gave a lighter feel to the story and the relationships especially. Looking forward to reading more from this author!